Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accused of lying and violating corona rules after a video suggesting he held an illegal Christmas party last year. The police are looking into the matter.
Footage obtained by ITV News shows Johnson’s then-spokeswoman Allegra Stratton answering questions at a fictitious press conference on December 22, 2020 about a Christmas party in Downing Street the Friday before, the date of the alleged real party that is rumored.
It reports the British news agency PA.
The fictitious press conference is said to have been held as an exercise for Stratton, who was to become the leader of Johnson’s press briefings on television.
In December last year, England was under strict closure rules.
«Cheese and wine»
On the recording, Johnson’s adviser Ed Oldfield plays the role of journalist. Others in the room jokingly comment on the alleged party and breach of corona rules.
During the fictitious press conference, Stratton was asked by Oldfield if the Prime Minister would agree to have a Christmas party.
– What is the answer to that? answers Stratton.
Oldfield says he does not know, and a Downing Street employee then says with a laugh that:
– There was no party. It was cheese and wine.
– There was no Christmas party. Corona rules have been followed all along, a Downing Street spokesman said after the ITV feature.
Scotland Yard confirms that police are in the process of reviewing the recording.
Labor leader Keir Starmer takes a hard line against what can be called shameful actions, and asks Johnson to stand up and apologize.
– People all over the country followed the rules, even when it meant they could not meet their loved ones. They had a right to expect the government to do the same, Starmer tweets with a link to the video.
– Lying and laughing at these lies is shameful. We have a prime minister who is socially distanced from the truth.
Johnson himself declined earlier Tuesday to repeat Downing Street’s statement that no party had been held.
“What I can say is that all the guidelines were complied with, and continue to be complied with,” Johnson told reporters during a visit to a jail on Tuesday.
The Daily Mirror writes that there are two parties: a Christmas party in November last year, where Johnson gave a speech during the shutdown, and another party for Downing Street employees in December where party games were held, food and drink were served, and where the partying continued until after midnight, according to the newspaper.